It’s the stuff of nightmares for many people. Seeing a rat or even rat droppings in or around the house is enough to set almost anyone’s heart racing. Rats have been the object of fear and revulsion for centuries. They are well known as transmitters of diseases, and they have been known to bite or scratch people and pets.
Any household may have a rat problem at one time or another. These crafty and determined pests are not particularly picky about where they live or where their next meal comes from. This means that most homes, and even many businesses, may be susceptible to infestation.
Keep Rats Out
If you believe that you have a rat problem, then the first thing to do is to figure out how they are getting into your home or office. Sealing up these entrances, which may be as small as the diameter of a quarter, will prevent any rodents from entering the premises. It also may be important to tidy up the yard, make certain that all trash cans have tight lids and trim trees back from structures so that they don’t touch.
Consider Getting Rat Traps
Once you start looking, you’ll quickly realize that you have many options for rat traps. Some of them are designed to instantly kill pests. Others are entirely non-lethal. You may not be bothered by the sight of a dead animal, while someone else may never want to see what the trap has accomplished. There is something on this list for all of these preferences.
1. Made2catch Classic Metal Rat Trap – Editor’s Choice
A household that is being bothered by large rats will probably be interested in this product. Available in a set of four, each trap is made of galvanized metal. Accordingly, they are heavy and incredibly durable. Each one can be used over and over again for an extended period of time. A pedal design and powerful spring ensure a quick, clean kill.
This larger trap is specifically designed to handle rats and other bigger rodents. It measures six and a half inches long by three and a half inches wide. Bait can be tied directly to the pedal for better security. The rat steps on the pedal, and is instantly caught in the trap. The sensitivity of the trigger can be adjusted using the armbar. People who suspect that they have really big rats will appreciate this feature. The manufacturer offers a 100 percent guarantee. You can return for a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Adjustable sensitivity on the trigger
Quality construction with durable materials
Strong trap for a quick kill
The strong spring can make it hard to set the trap
Design makes it easier for people to hurt themselves during setting and maintaining of the traps
Consumers who prefer the catch-them-alive approach will gravitate toward this offering from Havahart. A trip plate, which is designed to be ultra-sensitive, is located inside the trap. Once tripped, the animal is trapped inside a wire mesh box. Rodents are attracted by bait placed well inside the box. They trip the trigger when they go inside, then the gravity-action door falls behind them. The rodent is safely trapped inside the box until it can be transported and released elsewhere.
All internal edges on the inside of the trap are smooth to minimize the opportunities for the trapped animal to hurt itself. On the top of the trap, you’ll find a convenient handle that makes it easy to carry the trap elsewhere. This metal trap is designed to resist rust and corrosion so that it can be used for years. The manufacturer recommends taking the captured animal a minimum of two miles from the site of capture.
This trap’s name might be a bit of a tongue twister, but it is certainly an effective product. One of its definite advantages is that it can be set by hand or foot, thus saving your fingers from any painful pinches. Additionally, the bait cup is removed from the bottom of the trap for filling, which also keeps you safe from harm. So, that’s good news because this trap has a particularly aggressive design that includes a set of powerful jaws that are designed to instantly kill rodents on contact.
The teeth interlock, which makes it far more likely that any victim caught in the trap will be able to escape. Made of heavy-duty plastic, this trap can be hosed off for repeated usage.
Powerful spring action
Easy to set up
The bait cup is so small that some consumers lose it
Although it’s spendy, this product is ideal for the consumer who has a rat problem, but feels genuinely squeamish about killing an animal and disposing of the body. You can buy just one of these traps or opt to get a package of two, three or four. Instead of using jaws or a bar to kill a trapped rodent, this trap uses an electric shock. Each unit needs four AA batteries. Users simply insert the batteries, bait the trap and then set it out in a likely location. A single set of batteries provides enough power to kill 20 rats.
With a light on the exterior of the enclosed trap, it’s easy to see when a rodent has been trapped or when the batteries are getting low. The bait is placed in the back wall of the compartment, which lures the rodent onto a set of metal plates. Once triggered, the plates deliver 8,000 volts of electricity for two full minutes. This ensures a quick death. Users can then open the door on the trap and tip the contents into the garbage. It’s a quick, efficient and sanitary system.
This product is equipped with a set of truly terrifying rat-killing jaws. Unlike traditional designs that kill with a simple bar, this one is more likely to kill the rat on contact, rather than allowing it to suffer. In fact, this item is warranted to have in excess of 30 percent more force when compared to traditional traps. The trigger is described by the manufacturer as being “hair sensitive,” so there’s no reason why a rat or other large rodent would not set off the device.
With a removable bait cup, it’s easy to add some peanut butter or other desirable food without putting your fingers at risk. Additionally, the pedal completely surrounds the bait cup, so no rodent can get to the food without triggering the trap. This product is made from heavyweight plastic, ensuring that the traps won’t rot or rust. With six traps in the package and a surprisingly affordable price, this is an excellent value.
Large jaws are more likely to immediately kill victims
Some users note that really large rats are not always killed by these traps
Available in packages of four or six traps, this product is designed to minimize false triggers so that you are more likely to get a kill every time you set out the traps. The trigger mechanism is incredibly responsive, which may make these traps effective for mice in addition to rats. With an integrated bait cup, it’s easier than ever before to entice rodents into the trap.
The polystyrene construction is an improvement over wood traps, which are known for holding stains and odors. Each trap is equipped with an oversized pedal that surrounds the bait cup. This ensures a better chance of catching a rodent with every trigger. It’s easy to put new bait in the cup, and the design makes it easy to set each trap.
Material does not hold stains or odors
Oversized pedal that surrounds the bait cup ensures a victim every time
Some users find the traps difficult to re-set after they have been sprung
Available in a 12-pack for about $21, this is a pretty good deal. This also is probably the most traditional style rat trap on this list as it has a wooden base and a sturdy metal wire that comes down to trap and kill the rodent. Made in the USA, this product is constructed from sustainably harvested lumber. This company has been in operation since 1898, and the basic design of their rat-trap hasn’t evolved too much over the intervening decades. With more than one million traps sold, it’s clear that this company is doing something right.
Keep in mind that these traps are designed for only a single-use. Once you’ve trapped a rat in it, you simply throw the whole thing away. This makes this option less environmentally friendly since it will quickly end up in a landfill. Also, the spring mechanism is extremely strong and reactive. It’s important to load the bait and set the trap with extreme caution.
Extremely effective traps with a solid design
Each trap can only be used once
Finger injuries more likely due to strong, sensitive trigger assembly
This six-pack of traps is a quick and effective solution to rodent problems. Made of polystyrene, which is durable and easy to clean, these traps have many advantages over traditional rat and mouse traps. They don’t take on odors, and they do not stain. More importantly, the incredibly strong spring mechanism promises a quick and easy kill.
Bait loads easily from the bottom so that you won’t have to risk hurting your fingers. When the trap claims a victim, carry it over to the garbage, squeeze the end of the trap and drop the rodent into the garbage. Rinse off with water and reload the bait to use again. Rodents weighing as little as 15 grams can set off the traps.
Loading bait is easy and safe
Powerful spring makes for a quick, merciful kill
Some users had trouble with the traps randomly snapping shut without being triggered
Instead of relying on a trigger and a spring, this trap dispenses a toxic poison. This is a treatment method that many people are reluctant to try. Essentially, they are concerned that children, pets or desirable wildlife will accidentally consume the poison. This product has been designed with those fears in mind.
The enclosed rat bait station has tamper-proof security measures in place to ensure that only smaller rodents will be able to access the poison. Bait blocks weighing 30 grams are loaded into the station. Each block has the potential to kill three rats. A clear window in the top of the unit allows consumers to monitor the bait.
Easy to load
No chance of hurting fingers
Opening may be rather small for accommodating larger rats
Must be placed with extreme care beyond the reach of kids and pets
Not a quick kill; the poison works over the course of at least two days
These aluminum, catch-them-alive traps resist corrosion and rust. In fact, the manufacturer says that you could get a lifetime of use out of this product. It comes with starter bait, but you can use any food that might be attractive to rodents as a safe, non-toxic alternative.
If you inadvertently catch desirable animals, it’s easy enough to open the door to release them. The spring-powered door mechanism is triggered by a metal plate near the back of the cage. Relatively easy to set up, this is a totally humane solution to a rodent problem.
Totally humane solution that does not kill the animal
Can use any bait, even non-toxic ones
Designed for repeated use
Not designed for smaller rodents, which may not weigh enough to trigger the metal plate
Some users say that the trap seems lightweight for catching larger animals
Choosing the best rat trap is a highly personal decision. Some people merely want to relocate the pest species because they intensely dislike the idea of killing another living being. Others have no difficulty with killing rodents, particularly if there’s a good chance that the pests spread diseases.
The fact is that rats are widely recognized as vermin that spread a multitude of illnesses to people and pets. So this, coupled with their sometimes fearless reaction to be confronted, causes many people to live in fear when they know they have a rat problem.
It’s best to be vigilant and act quickly when you suspect that rats or similar rodents are settling in or near your home. This minimizes your exposure to these pests and protects your family, food, and property. An important first step is to seriously consider whether or not you’re willing to kill the animals that are plaguing you.
Choosing a Lethal Option
First of all, the lethal traps that are presented on this list are designed to kill quickly. That said, rodents and other animals may behave unpredictably. This may mean that a rat gets caught in a trap, but does not immediately die. When they are trapped, rats may scream and thrash. Many people find this behavior extremely upsetting. It is never easy to approach a wild animal that is injured and suffering. Nonetheless, it may be necessary to find means of ending the creature’s suffering.
If you don’t believe that you are capable of drowning or otherwise directly killing an animal, then a lethal trap may not be the right choice for you.
Is Poison the Right Method?
Another lethal option is to go with poison. Only one such option is presented on this list, and this one is included only because it is specially designed to resist the efforts of kids and pets to tamper with it. Still, the manufacturer recommends placing the bait station in a spot that children and domesticated animals are unable or unlikely to go.
Other products that rely on poison do not sufficiently protect kids and pets from exposure to toxins. If poison seems like a reasonable option to you, then it makes sense to carefully choose the right product. It’s vital that you protect not only the members of your household, but also those of your neighbors.
Options That Don’t Harm the Animal
The non-lethal options presented on this list are an excellent choice for those who do not want to cause any animal to suffer. These methods are akin to catch and release fishing, except that you will be releasing the animal at a sufficient distance from your property. A good rule of thumb is between three and five miles.
However, it’s just a good idea to check with local authorities to see what kind of rules they have about releasing animals. It may be that you have to travel farther afield to find a release site that won’t get you in trouble with the law.
This catch and release method may seem a bit more time consuming than lethal methods. For some people, it is still the only choice as they cannot picture themselves intentionally being the cause of an animal’s death.
Take Care During Transport
Caution must be exercised when transporting wild animals. Wearing heavy gloves, covering the cage with an old towel or blanket and holding the caged animal well away from your body are all recommended to minimize the chances of contact. Rats do spread a variety of diseases to people, and they don’t necessarily need to bite or scratch to do so.
Safer for Pets and Desirable Wildlife
Another reason to choose a non-lethal rat solution is that these cages do not harm pets, birds or other desirable wildlife. While any animal could potentially be injured by a snapping rat trap, the same cannot be said for catch-them-alive traps. If you’re really concerned about other animals in your area, then this is the way to go.
Always Read Instructions
Regardless of which rat trap you choose, you will always get the best results when you follow the instructions to the letter. The instructions may provide advice regarding where to set up the trap. Just as important are the directives regarding how to bait and set the trap. Failing to follow any of these rules may mean that your trapping endeavors are not as successful as you hoped they would be.
Setting rat traps can be a dangerous affair. Again, it is critical that you always read and follow instructions to avoid hurting yourself. People have actually broken their fingers by getting them stuck in a trap.
Choose the Best Rat Trap
Use the information contained in this article to help you make an informed choice about rat traps. Choosing the right trap will protect you, your family and your property while also helping you to get rid of a troubling problem.
What Is The Best Rat Bait For Traps?
I would like to talk about why you shouldn’t use peanut butter or spreadable cheese like Velveeta, or the stuff you get in the aerosol can, why you shouldn’t use this stuff on your mouse and rattraps as bait. Now, to start with the reason most people generally use peanut butter is convenience. You just stick your finger in the jar or a knife, however, you’re going to do it, smear it on the bait pan on the trap, set the trap. You’re done.
So why you should not use peanut butter?
Well, the thing is that a majority of the time the mouse or rat is just going to sit there and lick the trap clean. Now, in some previous videos I’ve done on similar topics, I’ve had people leave comments, «Well, I smear the peanut butter on the bottom side of the bait pan.” I went and tried that. It does slightly work better, but still, I was getting mice and rats that would lick the trap clean, plain and simple. They were just licking it clean.
I’ve had other people say they use two-faced tape and stick it on the wall, and supposedly that helps for the rattraps. I didn’t even bother trying that one. That one just didn’t sound quite right to me. The thing is, it’s just there are a lot better ways to bait the trap than use peanut butter. Now, also the spreadable cheese, the same thing people use that is a convenience, but there’s also this myth that mice and rats go crazy over cheese. That is a myth. That is something that was started in the cartoons many, many, many years back.
Use food for cat or dog!
The peanut butter is just as good as the cheese, if not anything else you put on the trap. What I suggest is dog food or cat food or breakfast cereal, and use a hot glue gun and glue that to the bait pan on the mousetraps. On the rattraps, I usually take a chicken wing end, that little tip that most people don’t eat, and take some twine or fishing line and tie that to the bait pan of a rattrap. Now, make sure it is cooked, and actually deep-fried or barbecued is the best. If it’s baked, it’ll still work but if it’s got a lot of grease and oil in it the rats really go after it.
I actually got a doubleheader one time. I had one of those chicken wing tips tied on the trap, go out the next morning, and the trap went off and got two rats at once.
That’s my best suggestions. You can also hot glue gun the bait on the rattrap. It’s just with the rats, the chicken wing tip it works really great. For the mousetraps, the dog food, cat food. If you don’t have a dog or cat, most people at least know somebody that does.
When you’re at the grocery store you can get those little sample bags for a dollar. That’s probably enough bait for your traps for a lifetime. Because the nice thing is once you catch a rodent, you just reset the trap. Generally, the bait stays on. Now, if you don’t have access to that, don’t want to go buy it, I have seen people use candy. Just don’t use something like soft chocolate, which, once again, they could lick off.
If it was a colder environment, chocolate chips, yeah, they would work. If it’s a hotter environment, they’re going to be sticky. The mouse will probably just sit there and lick it off. Once again, I don’t recommend using anything that’s going to be soft. The main thing is you want something that the mouse or the rat is going to grab onto and try to take off with. That’s what’s going to guarantee your trap going off, not having peanut butter there or this gooey stuff, where it’s just going to sit there and lick the trap clean.
Well, if you have any suggestions about particular bait that you’ve tried on a trap and it worked great for you, go ahead and leave a comment below.
That’s what I have the best luck with, and then the chicken wing tips on my rattraps that I put out by the chicken coop that seems to work the best. I also have a couple of live traps I’ve been playing with. I haven’t really been getting anything in those. I’ve caught two mice in the three months I’ve had them out now. Might be just going primarily all snap traps from now on.
I am Tanya Latty, a professor of entomology and ecology at the University of Sydney. I have been working in these fields for many years, with a particular interest in social invertebrates like bees and ants. I enjoy spending time outdoors observing nature. When not doing research or teaching, I love to read books about insects!